Gurgaon-based owner's association had alleged that DLF imposed highly arbitrary, unfair and unreasonable conditions on allottees of apartments, which had serious adverse effects and ramifications on the rights of the buyers
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, while upholding order from the Competition Appellate Tribunal (CompAT), asked DLF to pay a penalty of Rs630 crore in three months for unfair trade practices.
The company will have to pay Rs50 crore within three weeks, while the remaining will have to be paid within thee months. DLF will also have to submit an undertaking of interest of 9% on the penalty amount.
DLF had earlier moved the Supreme Court against the CompAT order which had upheld the ruling by Competition Commission of India imposing the penalty on the company for unfair business practices.
In 2011, the CCI had found DLF violating fair trade norms and imposed the said penalty on a complaint filed by the owners’ association of a DLF project, the Belaire Owners’ Association, in Gurgaon.
The association had alleged that DLF imposed highly arbitrary, unfair and unreasonable conditions on allottees of apartments, which had serious adverse effects and ramifications on the rights of the buyers.
Dismissing DLF's plea against the fine imposed by the Competition Commission of India, the tribunal had given the company 60 days to pay the penalty or approach the Supreme Court. DLF had then said that it would move the Supreme Court on the matter.
According to the apex court, PM and CMs should not consider people with criminal antecedents and against whom charges have been framed in serious offences, including corruption, for appointment as ministers
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said Prime Minister and Chief Ministers should desist from
including people as ministers against whom criminal and corruption charges have been framed.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha, however, stopped short of prescribing disqualification for such people from becoming ministers, leaving it to the wisdom of the PM and CMs not to recommend such names to the President and Governor.
Observing that it cannot add disqualification in Article 75 (1) (appointment of PM and Council of Ministers), the Bench, however, said that the PM and CMs should not consider people with criminal antecedents and against whom charges have been framed in serious offences, including corruption, for appointment as ministers.
It further said that the Constitution reposes immense trust in the PM and CMs and they are expected to act with constitutional responsibility and morality.
It said that the PM has been regarded repository of constitutional trust and he should act in national interest.
“We are saying nothing more, nothing less and it is left on the wisdom of the PM to decide,” the Bench said, adding this is also applicable to CMs. PM and CMs will be well advised not to include such people in their ministry, it said.
The Bench passed the order on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking its direction restraining the Centre and State governments from appointing people with criminal background as ministers.
The Bench also comprising justices Dipak Misra, Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and SA Bobde passed unanimous verdict in the matter with two judges giving separate opinions.
The un-vetted computer engineer from China plugged into law enforcement networks and a database of 5 million Arizona drivers in a possible breach that was kept secret for years
Lizhong Fan’s desk was among a crowd of cubicles at the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center in Phoenix. For five months in 2007, the Chinese national and computer programmer opened his laptop and enjoyed access to a wide range of sensitive information, including the Arizona driver’s license database, other law enforcement databases, and potentially a roster of intelligence analysts and investigators.
The facility had been set up by state and local authorities in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, and so, out of concerns about security, Fan had been assigned a team of minders to watch him nearly every moment inside the center. Fan, hired as a contract employee specializing in facial recognition technology, was even accompanied to the bathroom.
However, no one stood in Fan’s way when he packed his equipment one day in early June 2007, then returned home to Beijing.
There’s a lot that remains mysterious about Fan’s brief tenure as a computer programmer at the Arizona counterterrorism center. No one has explained why Arizona law enforcement officials gave a Chinese national access to such protected information. Nor has anyone said whether Fan copied any of the potentially sensitive materials he had access to.
But the people responsible for hiring Fan say one thing is clear: The privacy of as many as 5 million Arizona residents and other citizens has been exposed. Fan, they said, was authorized to use the state’s driver’s license database as part of his work on a facial recognition technology. He often took that material home, and they fear he took it back to China.
Under Arizona law, then-Gov. Janet Napolitano and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose agencies admitted Fan into the intelligence center, were required to disclose to the public any “unauthorized acquisition and access to unencrypted or unredacted computerized data” that includes names and other personal information.
To this day, they have not.
Terry Goddard, attorney general of Arizona in 2007, said Fan’s access and disappearance should have been reported to his office, but it was not. Arizona law puts the attorney general in charge of enforcing disclosure.
The state was supposed to have scrubbed drivers' names and addresses from the license data. State officials denied requests to discuss the extent of the data breach, including what personal information was in the files.
In fact, a review of records shows that David Hendershott, who was second-in-command at the sheriff’s office, moved aggressively to maintain silence, a silence that has now lasted some seven years. Two weeks after Fan departed, Hendershott directed others in writing not to discuss Fan and the possible breach. In an email to the outside contractor that had hired Fan, Hendershott wrote: “Keep this between us and only us.”
Even among administrators at the Phoenix center, very few learned that the Chinese programmer had left the country or that their own personal information might have traveled with him. Mikel Longman, the former criminal investigations chief at the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said he received no warning about the incident.
“That really is outrageous,” Longman said. “Every Arizona resident who had a driver’s license or state-issued ID card and all that identifying stuff is potentially compromised.
That’s a huge breach.”
Napolitano, who went on to serve as President Barack Obama’s secretary of Homeland Security, did not reply to multiple interview requests.
Hendershott, Arpaio’s longtime chief deputy, hung up on a reporter when reached by telephone. The sheriff’s office fired Hendershott in 2011 over an array of alleged misconduct. And he in turn filed suit in 2012, saying his legitimate law enforcement work had been mischaracterized as abuses of power. His suit was dismissed earlier this year. Today, he sells real estate in west Phoenix.
The Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica collaborated on this story.